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I prefer order. And predictability. Safe spaces are nice too, but not the ones we hear about on college campuses. Those are for once open-minded youths that have now been turned into feeble cowards who, 1) don’t know who they are yet, 2) don’t know what they truly believe, and 3) don’t know how to […]

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This week I heard a priest deliver a sermon on the Road to Emmaus: 13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.14And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus […]

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Meet Thomas Reid

 

What’s the deal with Thomas Reid’s funny hat? I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me. In return, I can introduce you to his philosophy in a series of videos airing here on my Rumble account (and here next year on YouTube). I’ll do it without a funny hat–but maybe with a goofy smile or a Bugs Bunny tie I keep in the office.

And why should you care about Thomas Reid’s philosophy? Because it’s the best way to explain the foundations of science; not that there aren’t valuable contributions to that area of study from my other philosophy homeboys David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Alvin Plantinga. (William James, too.)

And one other reason–Kierkegaard may be the captain of the philosophers, and Jean-Luc Marion may be the captain of the next generation of philosophers, but Thomas Reid is the king of Scottish common-sense philosophy.

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In the most recent episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Doctor of Philosophy Stephen Meyer joins host Peter Robinson to defend the thesis that Intelligent Design is a more parsimonious explanation for the universe as it exists than any alternatives. As is always the case on Peter’s show, the guest is intelligent and well-spoken and knowledgeable about […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, BBC broadcaster, and author of the best-selling books Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Life; and Venus and Aphrodite: History of a Goddess.

Prof. Hughes shares insights from her most recent book about the ancient deity known as Venus to Romans and Aphrodite to the Greeks, and her impact on our understanding of the mythology and history of beauty, romance, and passion. She discusses Aphrodite’s mythical role in sparking the Trojan War, portrayals of her across Western culture, and enduring lessons. They then turn to the ancient Greeks’ contributions to the foundations of Western philosophy, poetry, and government, and why studying classics, including figures like Socrates, is vital for education in the 21st century. And they explore the timeless wisdom and cautionary lessons all of us can draw from studying ancient Athenian democracy, Sparta, and the civic life of Greek city-states, the West’s earliest models of self-government. She concludes with a reading from her book, Venus and Aphrodite.

The Temptation to Doubt: Was it God … or Just a Thing?

 

I didn’t sleep much last night, which isn’t very different from every other night, but last night I had something new on my mind. Images of my mother’s ravaged body after decades of experimental drugs administered by heinous injections intended to treat her RA, which they did, but they also slowly killed her off in so many other ways.

She was hospitalized in the late ‘90s, and while still in what would be a weeks-long coma, I stood alone at her bedside in the ICU shortly after she’d suffered a severe brainstem stroke. Being the self-righteous prig that I sometimes was back then (and still can be now), I said something like, “Well Mom, this is how things go when you make poor choices.”

Yes, I really said that … or something close to that.

How Republics Die

 

Around 2009, I managed to get a little essay published in TCS Daily. It was the early days of the Obama administration and single-party Democrat control of the federal government.

Plato’s Republic may be about the soul, but there’s plenty of interesting political commentary in there. Maybe the early days of the Biden administration and single-party Democrat control of the federal government is a good time to revisit this Platonic critique of the leftist shift that destroys a republic.

He Is Risen

 

I think it was in Prehistory of the Far Side that Gary Larson explains that he meant no disrespect in making this cartoon. He was just thinking about what it would be like to wake up after being dead for a few days.

On the one hand, if we have the time, it’s good to know what’s not quite right about this cartoon. The modern English “for three days” has a connotation different from the original way of saying “on the third day,” which means Yeshua the Messiah was in the tomb for parts of three days–from late on Friday till early on Sunday, for a total of less than two full days. Traditional Christian theology teaches that G-d is omniscient, so it’s doubtful that Jesus would have to wonder what time it was. There was no coffin in the tomb. (Thanks, @clavius.) And, if we gave a full theology of the Resurrection, we’d probably have to say that Jesus doesn’t need caffeine. Since death no longer has any control over him, I don’t think he needs drugs to wake up in the morning.

I have no opinion on whether Jesus drinks coffee. I only know that he can if he wants to. And I’m pretty sure that if he drinks coffee–or tea–it’s just because he wants to.

“…Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise.”

 

You know how sometimes Scripture just seems to jump out at you, or you notice something you hadn’t before? Well, I had one of those moments Friday. My pastor has a daily devotional podcast, and for the Good Friday episode this year, he opted to simply read the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for us from the Bible. When he was reading from Matthew, one verse in particular struck me (I’ve also included the preceding verses for context):

Then two criminals were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him and said, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God rescue him now — if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.

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How complete was the Lord’s suffering for us?  Jesus knew the joy of Heaven before the day of His resurrection. The second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, our Creator — He knew the perfect justice, perfect love, and perfect peace of His own trinitarian nature before He created humankind; before He adopted this limited […]

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“He took a towel and tied it around his waist.Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.” He became a servant to those whom he knew in the next few hours would betray him, deny him and abandon him. Preview Open

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Near two millennia now the beautiful prayer that Jesus gave us has been prayed with and over and thought about by ordinary folk and some of the best minds this world has ever known. I love this, Dante’s meditation, from the beginning of Canto XI of The Purgatorio. The inverse of the descent into The […]

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What worlds have you made?  It is good that we have questions for our Creator. Faith and reason belong together and do not contradict. We were made to reason. Christianity dares to suggest that we can understand much about our divine Lord and His unfolding plans for us. But surely reason must lead us to […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Susannah Heschel, the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the daughter of noted 20th-century Jewish theologian and Civil Rights-era leader, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. They discuss what teachers and students today should know about Rabbi Heschel’s life and legacy. Born in Warsaw, Poland, the descendant of preeminent European rabbis, Rabbi Heschel was arrested by the Gestapo, and later escaped to London. Prof. Heschel describes how losing many family members in the Holocaust shaped her father’s writings, and brought moral urgency to his American Civil Rights efforts. Prof. Heschel describes her father’s landmark study, The Prophets, for which she wrote an introduction, his profound view of the prophets as models, and his search for enduring “truth and righteousness in everyday life.” They discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who evoked Old Testament imagery in many of his most memorable speeches, and who was accompanied by Rabbi Heschel on the Voting Rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Professor Heschel offers thoughts on what educators can learn from her family’s historic experiences facing adversity, and how citizens, teachers, and students alike can use personal stories, biblical wisdom, and ancient sources to inspire their civic action in our often divided country. She concludes with a reading from a favorite passage from one of her father’s books.

Stories of the Week: Which states are driving innovation in K-12 education, and which are struggling? Cara and Gerard discuss recent rankings, and some surprising results. The Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that would allow income-eligible families to access tax credit scholarships for private school tuition and other services, overriding the Governor’s veto.

Ofc. Eric Talley, May He Rest In Peace

 

On March 29, the funeral Mass for Officer Eric Talley, of the Boulder, CO, Police Department took place in the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Ofc. Talley lost his life in the mass shooting at a supermarket.

May all those who lost their lives that day rest in peace.

The Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite by Father Daniel Nolan, FSSP of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Littleton, Colorado.

A Suffering That Leads to Rest

 

We went to a church in my old hood Sunday. It was in the backyard of the pastor’s house, set with a mish-mash of folding chairs and patio tables, including one with coffee, kid drinks, and other treats. I’m guessing there were around 20 or so people there, another dozen or two online via Zoom, and a kid’s group doing its thing on another side of the house.

Why am I telling you this? At this point, I have no idea. Things usually become clear at around the 600-word mark. We will see.

I grew up in the south area of the city and, given my unsupervised freedom, I regularly (and without an inkling of fear that can only be born of wisdom), walked into or came close to taunting my own ruin via treacherous situations involving criminal types and other hoodlums who were usually up to no good thing. I did not make it out of there unscathed.

For a Flickering Moment

 

Jesus riding a donkey in Jerusalem

It was Sunday and He rode an unbroken colt in procession through the gates of Jerusalem, heir to the Davidic line and the doer of signs and wonders prophesied to mark the Anointed One, the Messiah, of the Lord who would free the children of Israel. Sweet hosannas were sung by the crowds and palm branches were gathered and waved in celebration as Jesus passed. In this brief moment, it appeared that Heaven and Earth were reconciled and the enemies of Israel would be routed, heralding a golden age like none before it. David had also ridden a donkey, signifying to his people that he came to work, not on a horse that would signify a conqueror.

Of course, the optics were deceptive. I won’t share any spoilers, but that mundane golden age thing did not shape up to the expectations of Judah. For today, Jesus is the triumphant Messiah come to free His people and they celebrate. For a flickering moment.

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It’s happened often that I hear something from the Almighty … a pithy bullet point or an image worth a thousand words, that pops into my mind as I sit in the garden enjoying the touch of His breeze … His exhale … on my face. I believe He told me several months back that […]

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